It is unusual to come across an artist that has traveled the globe extensively and yet still has their feet as firmly planted on the ground as San Francisco based singer songwriter, Mike Gibbons. Growing up, Gibbons home was as transient as his music as he moved from Thailand to Kenya, to Egypt and Belgium, as well as New Jersey, Minnesota and Ohio in the United States. These wide and eclectic cultural influences play a large part in Gibbons new album Loose Ends which takes the listener through a myriad of Gibbons’ experiences and exhibits a global musical sensibility that is way beyond his years.
Gibbons was an anomaly in his family as he was the only musician in the Gibbons traveling show. While the brothers were studying for their bar exams, Gibbons was painstakingly dissecting and rewriting the songs from a Michael Jackson tape that his father had given him. The well-fated meeting of Jackson’s Thriller album with Gibbon’s already developing knack for creative writing propelled Gibbons steadily in a different direction than his siblings: “While I was really interested in other cultures as a child, music in general wasn't a very big part of my upbringing. I grew up in a family where there were no musicians, even in my extended family. As a result, it was assumed that since I was ‘a Gibbons’ I probably wasn't a musician.” Not the case. Gibbons first release in 2005, Jetlag Chronicles was very well received and as a result has garnered Gibbons a faithful and sturdy following.
Landing in the US for college, Gibbons’ freshman proved to be a pivotal year for Gibbons when he began combining his instrument of the pencil, with his new instrument – the guitar. This lead to Gibbons making a name for himself in the college scene, playing at local venues and cafes as he soon gathered a following that was sad to see him hit the road, once again, after graduation.
This time, Gibbons touched down in India, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia. Gibbons credits his time in these places to molding his solo act, as he performed frequently and maintained residencies at venues along the way. From Kashmiri soldiers to Buddhist monks, to backpacking wanderers of all kinds, Gibbons’s audiences during this time came from a wide array of cultures and perspectives. After returning back to the States, Gibbons stopped in San Francisco with a mind to head to Portland or Seattle to settle down for a bit, but was quickly embraced by the SF songwriting community and realized that something special was happening in the Bay Area: “The music scene here is full of talented musicians, and although it's on a smaller scale than the big music cities, it carries a rich sense of community and camaraderie among the local musicians, venue folks, and radio/industry folks that I really appreciate.”
Gibbons is looking forward to sharing his new release “Loose Ends” with new listeners and already faithful followers (released on September 4th, 2008). He sees this collection of tracks moving him in a direction that he would like to continue to grow as a songwriter: “I like to challenge myself. To open my mind up to different styles of music and to find common ground with musicians from other genres and cultural backgrounds. I'd like to learn how to more frequently access that source where the songs come from, because true inspiration has proven a transient beast, at least in my experience.” When asked what Gibbons most hopes his listeners get from hearing his music, he says: “A glimpse of themselves. A sense of connection”. Luckily, music lovers will not have to travel as far as Gibbons has to experience the world from a different perspective. Gibbons has done the work for them.